The desire to help people is what made Jennifer Kelly become a lawyer.
Born and raised in Timmins, Kelly, 37, has always been passionate about law and advocating for her clients' rights.
Kelly, who has been in the law industry for a decade, works as a personal injury lawyer for Girones Lawyers. She says the profession seemed intriguing to her and it was a great way to help people.
“I’ve met my goals of becoming a lawyer,” she says. “We have freedom and flexibility to handle a variety of cases and, basically, have limitless possibilities.”
She mostly practises personal injury and family law. Some of her personal injury cases include motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, disability insurance disputes and slip-and-fall accidents.
“We serve the public. We have a duty to serve the public ethically, diligently and confidently,” she says.
As a lawyer, Kelly provides services in both official languages. She attended École secondaire catholique Thériault and studied in French throughout university.
“I think it’s important to preserve the French language,” she says. “It’s an asset to understand speech and work in French, especially in Northern Ontario here. We do have many clients that are only francophone, only speak French.”
From 2013 to 2019, she acted as a panel agent for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer in the Cochrane district representing the interest of children in various legal cases.
“It's different, it's gratifying,” she says about the experience. "Obviously, having a child client is very different from having an adult client. I very much enjoyed working with children and representing their best interest in the most difficult time of their lives."
She’s also a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Cochrane Law Association.
“I’ve had and I continue to have an incredible option of being mentored by Lorenzo Girones,” she says. “He continues to help me deal with problems that I encounter, I learn from watching him and listening to him, asking him questions and working with him.
“It re-affirms and fuels my passion for advocacy because the work that I do now and have (done), is interesting and challenging,” she says. “I’m lucky to have a privilege of practising law and I’m lucky to do the work that I do.”
Having studied in Sudbury and Ottawa, Kelly decided to return to live in Timmins.
“I have a big family here. I have friends here and this is where I want to call home,” she says.
Kelly says she’s dedicated to her community and is actively involved with St. Vincent de Paul, Centre Culturel La Ronde, her church Notre Dame de la Paix and Melissa Kelly Dance Academy.
“For Christmas in the last few years, I’ve been sponsoring a Bag Day at St. Vincent de Paul,” she says. "I think it’s important to help them because they, in turn, help the people of Timmins.”
She says she tries to do as much pro bono work as she can. Last December, Girones Lawyers also collected and delivered gift baskets to families in need.
In addition, Kelly has been supporting hockey players and teams as well as local dancers.
Kelly strives to maintain balance between work and her personal life. As her job can become stressful and “emotionally draining,” doing physical activity allows her to clear her mind, she says.
To deal with stress and overcome challenges, she goes on long walks. She also enjoys travelling, fishing and spending time with her nieces.
“I believe we’re not given anything that we can’t handle. That’s always been my belief,” she says adding she’s also been blessed with a wonderful support system including her husband and immediate family as well as great coworkers.
“It motivates you to become better to find solutions to the challenges, problems that do arise. That’s what experiences are all about.”
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com